Marlene looked out
at the roofs of the other two towers: the addi-tional one she held and the one Rock’s boys controlled. In both shecould see flames burning in the windows, the occasional lighterbrought up to a pipe filled with what they’d started calling crack.Crack: solid cocaine rolled into a ball and mixed with shit, cut-ter, ammonia. Smoked. The fastest high, the worst down, the mostpeople fucked up she’d ever seen this fast. Marlene wasn’t selling rocksto people in her towers, not supplying her own with the white deaththat went for less than weed, fucked you up ten times worse, and leftyou begging for another blast.No, she wouldn’t work that way; she wouldn’t take her own peo-ple to that place and make them beg. But Rock would, and now sheneeded to clear him out. Her people were already walking over to 412and buying from his crew.She ran a fingertip across her upper lip. In her hand, she clutchedthe remote for the lighting and shades. She’d made her penthouse by breaking out a wall and joining two of the public housing units to-gether, and she could call it that all she wanted, but looking out the windows into North Cambridge, into a town of two-family separatedhouses, she knew there was more than what she had here.
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